And that change is brought about by a hard decision I decided to make regarding my writing. As much as I love writing books, my focus doesn't seem to be there anymore. I can get started, but then I lose steam halfway through and can't drum up the energy or desire to go back. But I'm always excited to write an an entertainment article, an essay, a writing article, or a short literary piece. So that tells me that, for now, I need to give my complete focus to that.
Mostly likely, I will be changing my website around to highlight this focus. Does this mean I'm totally abandoning my books that have been published? No. They will remain available for purchase, but there won't be any new releases unless they are novellas. There will be no book-length fiction in the foreseeable future. I don't know when or if that will change. But I'm happy where my writing is taking me right now, and that is more important than struggling to write something I have no interest in!
For the past seven years I have tried to get my work accepted by a literary magazine or site. No joy. Most of the time, I didn't even receive a rejection, and the silence was deafening. Literary fiction isn't easy to write, and I know that's the reason why I hadn't succeeded yet. So I kept trying.
Finally, my determination paid off, and I sold a short piece of literary fiction to Short Edition, which calls itself a new kind of literary pulse. This description is taken directly from their website.
Short Édition aims to raise literary awareness, encourage new and emerging writers, and highlight the importance and timelessness of literature.
And if you click on the link above "a short piece," you can read my story for free. I hope you enjoy a part of my dream.
Those of you who've been following this blog for a while know that I write every day whether it's a blog post, a page on my latest work-in-progress, an essay, or a post for Red Shirts Always Die. It's a goal I set for myself way back in 2012, and nine years in, I'm still writing every day. But what I write has changed so drastically.
When I set that goal, I was focusing on fiction mainly. Now, I don't write as much fiction as I do non-fiction, although I do keep a work-in-progress at all times. I try to write at least two different things a night like a few pages on a manuscript and a blog post. That doesn't always work out which is why I haven't updated this blog since December 7th. Ugh.
I'm working on a schedule that will help me get things back in order. So hopefully, this blog won't be in dry dock for much longer!
On a side note, I rewatched some of Dawson's Creek last night. It's been so long that I've forgotten most of the series, but Joshua Jackson has just gotten better looking with age!
'm sure if you've been following me a while you've noticed that I'm bouncing around a lot with the things I write, especially in the past two years or so. Once upon a time, I focused solely on writing fiction, but I reached a point where I was having to force the words, and I wasn't enjoying it anymore. Writing was a chore.
Enter articles. I could write several of these a week and still my goal of writing every day. Along with those, I began to write essays and short stories, and I got more involved with writing posts about television and movies for sites like Movie Pilot (now defunct), Hidden Remote, and now Red Shirts Always Die. It was refreshing not to have to worry about plot holes and characterization.
Recently, my first fiction novella in 2 1/2 years released, and I'm working on a second one now. I'm back in the groove of fiction writing, but I don't know when I'll return to full-length novels. Right now, I'm enjoying writing various things, and I don't have to force any of the words. Writers write, and that's what I'm doing.
I wrote all of this to say, if you're a writer, write whatever you feel like writing. Don't push yourself to write what just isn't in you. I did that for too long, and I almost stepped away from writing altogether. I'm glad, instead, I decided to spread the words I write out over a multitude of avenues.
I'm honored that an article of mine has been accepted by Rooted in Rights which is part of Disability Rights Washington, an organization dedicated to making positive changes in the disabled community.
Disability is something with which I'm more familiar than I want to be as I was disabled in a car accident many years ago. And though I don't talk often about it, it limits my ability to do many things I could do before the accident, things that I took for granted.
So this article that Rooted in Rights accepted is on a topic that is very close to my heart. I'll admit that I had no idea the difficulties the disabled community experienced until I came face to face with them myself. I'm glad that I'm able to share a little of what I've learned and, hopefully, to help educate able-bodied people.
My article won't be available until December, but I'll share a link here when it is. This is the writing I do that stays with me long after I type the final word on the page.
In this week's news....actually, some of it is last week's news as well!
Many news things are in store for my site so keep checking back! I think you'll like the changes!
Every writer struggles with something. It can be deadlines, time to write, or the dreaded writer's block. These successful writers offer valuable lessons we all can use! Go forth and read! You'll be glad you did!
My latest work-in-progress is a young adult romance titled In Darkness She Shines. Here's a sneak peek from the first chapter!
“Hey, who’s that?” Amy captures my attention with a nudge.
I follow her line of sight to the house sitting on the corner, only a few steps from mine. With its sagging screen door and cracked, concrete steps, it doesn’t look much better than the one I call home.
A teenage boy crosses the brown grass, a bookbag slung over one shoulder. He climbs behind the wheel of a truck that’s blue and rust. Through the cracked glass window behind his head, I see brown curls and broad shoulders.
“Well?” Amy prompts me with another poke of her finger to my shoulder.
I shrug. “Don’t know. Never seen him before.”
“You’ve got to get your nose out of a book, Bailey. I mean, seriously, a hot guy moves in practically across the street from you, and you don’t even notice?”
“He probably won’t be here long. This isn’t exactly a buy and stay type of neighborhood. I still can’t believe your parents let you walk with me.”
Amy and I met in history class five years ago, just as things were starting to get especially nasty between my mom and dad. Her friendship had saved me, and now, every morning, her dad drops her off at the corner of my street so we can walk to school together.
The engine on the dilapidated truck coughs and sputters, and I can see my new neighbor patting the dashboard like he’s offering encouragement. After several fits of shaking and rattling, the truck settles into an asthmatic rhythm. Then the muffler belches a plume of smoke that has me and Amy waving the air in front of our faces.
“Geesh! Get that muffler fixed!” I yell before I think, which is usually how I end up getting in trouble when my mom’s sober.
Back-up lights illuminate, and the truck rolls out of the driveway. The driver glances over his shoulder, sees me and Amy, and stares for a second longer than necessary before shifting the truck into whatever gear it would accept. After a few weak attempts, it finally lunges down road.
“Well.” Amy stops and puts her finger underneath her nose. “He’s definitely someone we should get to know.”
I stare at her like her hair’s on fire. “What? Why? Because he’s cute?” I couldn’t see that much of him except for a strong jawline and the hair. So any assumptions I made about his looks were simply speculation.
Amy grins. “I was going to say because he has a truck, but whatever.”
“That’s not a truck; it’s an accident waiting to happen. And your dad drives a Jaguar. Why do you care about some guy you don’t know driving a beat-up old tank?”
“We do get rain here, remember? Who knows? He might be willing to give us a ride to school.”
“Again, your dad drives a Jag. Wouldn’t you rather show up at school in that?”
Her perfect eyebrows crease. “Ride to school with my dad? What have you been smoking?”
We dissolve into giggles and continue our trek to school, arriving five minutes after the bell rings which still keeps us out of the mandatory parent-notification zone. Not that my mom would answer the phone anyway.
I saw this blog question on a challenge list, and it really made me stop and think. Once upon a time, I had a full-time career as a paralegal, and writing was a creative outlet for me. I didn't get published until I was almost thirty-five. I enjoyed writing, but it wasn't a necessity to me. All that changed after publication and the book reviews started coming in followed by even more contracts. Then I got excited because I loved to write and realized I could do this for more than just the thrill of writing.
Now, if I couldn't write for whatever reason, I would have to find another way to express what I can say with written words. I don't know what that would be, possibly doing more public speaking. But it wouldn't erase my desire to write.
Honestly, i can't imagine not writing, but if I had no choice, I would adapt and find another way to love what I do which would undoubtedly be something just as creative. I don't see myself ever returning to the full-time grind of being a paralegal. I enjoy being my own boss too much. As I'm already the editor-in-chief of Vinspire Publishing, I imagine I would throw myself even more into helping writers achieve their dreams.
I'll admit that this question scares me because I don't want to imagine not writing. Even writing a blog post like this one fills a need in me, and I wonder if I would feel the same if I couldn't write.
This is a completed manuscript that I haven't sent out yet. Thought I'd share the first part of Chapter One with you
Chapter One (Part 1)
"A tornado warning is now in effect for Charleston County, Berkeley County, and parts of Dorchester County. At approximately 6:45 p.m...."
Nicole switched off the television and gathered her purse and coat from the top of her desk in the back room of her antique shop. She didn’t want to be alone here during a storm. It didn’t feel safe. Few places did. A twenty minute drive would take her home with its tall wrought-iron gates and solid brick structure.
Her cell phone rang. Probably Katya calling to check on her. Her best friend for the past eight years, the woman knew close to everything about her, including the phobias that rendered her semi-functional.
"Hi, Kat. I'm heading out now."
"It doesn't look too bad on this side of town. Want to come hang out there?" Happily married with two small children, Kat had opened her doors more than once to Nicole when one of her fears had kicked in.
"No, I think it'll pass." As she clicked the lock into place securing her antique shop, a chill ran down her spin. A sense of deja vu passed over her.
A severe storm had taken away her security nine years ago, giving her best friend's boyfriend the distraction he'd needed to get close to her. To trap her inside the small office building which held her law practice. And…
"Are you sure?" Worry coated Kat's voice. "Jim doesn't mind. He's draped over the sofa watching baseball. An occasional curse word gets thrown in when the satellite fades out from the wind."
"I thought you said it wasn't bad over there." Nicole made it to her car in record time, the swish of the palm trees rubbing her nerves. She climbed behind the wheel of her comfortable sedan with every bell and whistle she could get for security purposes and punched the ignition button. The doors locked automatically.
"I said it didn't look too bad, and I wasn't lying. A burst of wind every now and then isn't bad." Kat huffed out a breath. "Come on over. I've got stroganoff ready, and the little ones will be in bed within the hour. We could have a glass of wine, chat, and try to tune out Jim's salty language together."
Nicole smiled at the picture her friend painted. She did love spending time with Kat's family. They'd become her own, providing her that familial tie she didn't have through any blood relatives. Caving in, she turned her car in the opposite direction of home. "Okay, but once the storm dies down, I need to get home. I have to be at the shop early tomorrow to get ready for Saturday's sale."
"Sounds like a plan. I'll set out another plate."
Her hands white-knuckling the steering wheel, Nicole said goodbye to her friend and focused on the road. Overhead, the sky had darkened to an ominous gray with streaks of green. Palms slickened with sweat, she tried to remain focused on the road, to ignore the warning signs.
Heart thundering in her chest, she pressed the accelerator and, using her thumb, turned on the radio, expecting the soothing sounds of classical music. Instead, an ominous voice shared the unwelcome news that a funnel cloud had been spotted near Kat's neighborhood.
Panic threatening to choke her, Nicole punched another button to direct dial Kat from her car's Bluetooth. "Kat, a funnel cloud's just been spotted right around the corner from you."
"I know. The warning just interrupted the baseball game. We're taking precautions. Maybe it's best if you do go home and batten down the hatches. I'll call you as soon as this passes." Kat paused before adding in a firm tone. "And it will pass."
With her friend's reassurances ringing in her ears, Nicole took the first exit to backtrack toward home, her body shaking with each mile.
By the time she reached her house, tears coursed down her cheeks, and her hands shook so badly she could barely press the button on the garage opener.
"Get a hold of yourself, Nicole. Nothing is going to happen. You're safe."
The self-talk helped a little, but it was only when she was inside and had bolted all the locks in place that she managed to draw a deep breath. But she couldn't stop herself from turning on the TV to watch the path of the storm.
Storms paralyzed her. And years of therapy hadn't eased any of the crushing anxiety that overwhelmed her with each weather warning.
Hours later, after the storm had moved on, Nicole she pushed herself up off the couch and stumbled down the hallway to her bedroom, one hand covering the scar that bisected her abdominal cavity. Though the night had fallen quiet, she wouldn’t sleep. The bad weather could return, and she had to stay on guard even though her attacker had died nine years ago.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!